QRIDA southeast regional area manager Brian Coe.
QRIDA southeast regional area manager Brian Coe.

Farmers invest $44 million into their land

PRIMARY producers in Ipswich, Scenic Rim, Lockyer and Somerset regions have invested a share of more than $1billion into developing their businesses with state government productivity loans.

Across the state, thousands of primary producers have been able to buy their first block, expand and invest in new technology and infrastructure, prepare for drought and natural disaster and reduce electricity bills under the Queensland Government's Primary Industry Productivity Enhancement Scheme (PIPES).

Fifty farmers in the Scenic Rim have invested $18million, while $27million has been invested in another 92 primary production enterprises in Somerset, Lockyer Valley and Ipswich Local Government Areas.

Beef cattle enterprises were among the most popular across the four regions, as were dairy cattle and vegetable crops.

QRIDA southeast regional area manager Brian Coe said producers used the low-interest loans to invest in a range of on-farm improvements such as more efficient water and also energy-saving equipment to help reduce electricity bills.

"Rising energy prices and the dependence on electric farm infrastructure to run their business are putting significant pressure on primary producers," Mr Coe said.

"Many clients are using Sustainability Loans of up to $1.3million to invest in energy saving techniques like solar generation equipment and they have been able to save significant amounts in the day-to-day running of their businesses."

Mr Coe said aspiring producers in the southeast were increasingly looking to First Start Loans to secure their initial block of land.

"People young and not so young are having a crack and buying their first property and moving into agriculture business," he said.

The State Government has endorsed QRIDA to provide a further $100million in loans under PIPES in 2018-19.